UNHCR and Google launch Searching for Syria website

The website answers the most commonly asked questions about the conflict in the country and gives opportunities for action

The refugee agency UNHCR and the technology company Google have collaborated to create a new website to give greater insight into the conflict in Syria.

Searching for Syria brings together data and stories from the UNHCR, Google search trends and other sources to provide answers to the five most commonly asked questions about the country’s refugee crisis that people ask:

  • What was Syria like before the war?
  • What is happening in Syria?
  • Who is a refugee?
  • Where are Syrian refugees going?
  • How can I help Syrian refugees?

Answers are provided through multimedia content generated by both UNHCR and Google, including a 360 degree view of a market in Damascus with voiceover or a working digital clock showing how long the civil war has been waged.

Users can browse the questions or dig deeper for further information. The website also offers options to share content via social networks, donate or sign up to UNHCR’s #WithRefugees global petition which asks world leaders to ensure education for refugee children, adequate shelter and livelihoods for refugee families.

"Searching for Syria aims to dispel myths and misconceptions about Syria and refugees and provide an entirely fresh look at the biggest humanitarian tragedy of today," said Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees. 

"This is a fantastic project with Google that allows us to pinpoint and answer the five key questions about Syrian refugees and displaced that audiences most want to know and help us rally much needed support and funding for our humanitarian effort."

Jacquelline Fuller, vice president of Google.org, Google's charitable arm, said. "The scale of the Syrian refugee crisis is difficult for most of us to fathom, but the questions on Searching for Syria are a reflection of many people’s desire to understand. Among the top searches in Germany, France, and the UK last year was: What is happening in Syria?"

Available in English, French, German and Spanish with an Arabic version to follow, the Searching for Syria website will also be featured on the Google home page.

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